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Music as a Common Language: Georgia, Caucasus

Young Russian cellist and peace activist Nikolai Karantsev initiated an incredible peacebuilding project in Tiblisi, Georgia facilitated by our Creative Director Lis Murphy and conflict transformation trainer Nik Paddison.

25 young musicians, from Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and Hungary spent a week in a neutral space in Tblisi, Georgia, learning each other’s music, making new friends and learning music facilitation skills.

Exploring personal perceptions of conflict each morning, designing interactive music sessions with children each afternoon and jamming each evening, young people worked towards music-making with the communities living in Georgia’s Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps where thousands of people now live as a result of the most recent wars in the region.

The young people from across conflict divides including Azerbaijan/Armenia and Georgia/Russia created beautiful, diverse performances including classical, traditional, rock, jazz with traditional instruments such as duduk and qanoon.

Interactive music sessions in the camps brought hundreds of children together through shared singing, dancing and body percussion, reducing stress and trauma.

Yesterday finished the best experience I´ve ever had. Little by little, day by day, moment by moment we were becoming a big family. I have discovered how discussion, coexistence and music can make everything perfect.

I talked to people only with gestures, hugs, smiles or looks, because we couldn´t speak the same language, I also saw how the children had a good time with our music. Participant, young violinist Ana Martínez 

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